One Nation Under Funk

My mind is numb from two hours of George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. The buzz in my ears may never stop and my body is finally coming to rest after one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. The Funkadelics are a band that plays a little rock, a little blues, a little rap and a lot of soul. Their 71 year-old leader, George Clinton was youthful and at times hilarious.

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The crowd was even more interesting; the diverse mix included many college-aged kids along with a smattering of folks from all other age groups. What struck me as I swayed to the thumping beat of the well-tuned band was the interaction of my concert going mates. The predominantly white audience interacted with their black peers as if color did not matter.

Music, the bridge between people of all races, turned the venue into a true melting pot of sweaty vibrating people; DNA was intermingled and conjoined in various ways as the beat bounced off people, in a big pinball game of sound.

As the Funkadelics moved from song to song, I was taken by the fact here was a group of young people worship a 71 year-old black man and his entourage of mostly black folk band. They screamed, hollered, and danced to the tunes of one of the most diverse genres of music. Their adulation was met by tremendous music and love from the grateful cast of characters as they ran through their repertoire of music for a two hour nonstop show.

The evening reminded me of how America is changing and, from my viewpoint, for the better. Just like the Funkadelics combined different genres of American music to form a new rich vibrant diverse sound, America is once again coming to the same understanding of melding all into one.

America, a nation built on the backs of immigrants from all countries, is again on the brink of another explosion of saturation of color — and as more and more immigrants seek the safety, employment and freedom the complexion and attitude of many people are morphing into a world view and less nationalistic view of America.

This change in the complexion of the American people has been happening since the beginning of the country. Thousand of immigrant Italian, German and Irish at first stayed in their own ghettos, only intermingling with each other when there was a reason to interact with the other newly arriving immigrants; the Civil War, WWI and WWII were some of the events that brought Americans of all colors and national background together and showed many who may have had prejudices against a group of people they were just like other Americans looking for the same rights, freedoms and privileges.

Irish girls began bringing home boys of different ethnic descent and soon the homogenization of America was taking hold. The same is happening now as black, brown and yellow-skinned immigrants intermingle with each other, and with the intermingled population a greater diverse population is taking hold, transforming America into a rainbow of multiplicity.

This new multicultural experiment in social interaction is the reason for the fear in some who believe America was founded for white people, by white people and only white people are considered worthy of the status of citizen. This is the same philosophy that has led to voter suppression laws in more than half of the 50 states in the form of voter ID laws enacted by states legislatures for one purpose and one purpose only – to intimidate and reduce the number of people of color from voting in the coming Presidential election.

Will the forces of obstructionism and racism win out over the ever-growing rainbow we call the American experience? Or like the Funkadelics show, will America’s population whirl into a colorblind conglomerate in the seas of change? Only time will tell — but if the youth of America are anything like the crowd at the show one thing is for certain: as more people interact in the homogenizing of America there will be a greater chance for harmony and cohesion.


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